Happy Valentine’s Day from cute little success story Pedro…and all of us at FACE!
The National Bureau of Economic Research recently released a Working Paper that discusses key similarities between our own health care and the care that we provide for our dogs, cats, and other pets. The authors point to 4 main areas where U.S. economic data indicates that our human and pet health spending patterns converge. Here’s a brief rundown:
Rapid growth in human and pet health care spending over the last two decades.
Pet care has experienced greater growth than all other areas of household spending categories. Next is human health care, followed by housing, and lastly, entertainment. Data shows strong growth in pet care spending beginning around 2005-2006 that continues at a high rate today.
A strong correlation between income and pet & human health spending.
Not surprisingly, households in the highest income category ($70,000 annually and above) spend more on human and pet health care (as well as housing and entertainment) than households in lower income categories. Pet spending is 114% more in the highest income households than in the lowest.
Rapid growth in the employment of human and pet health care providers.
The supply of human health care providers and pet health care professionals has grown dramatically over the past couple of decades. While the supply of human physicians has increased 40% between 1996 and 2013, the supply of veterinarians has doubled.
High spending for end-of-life care for both humans and pets.
A comparison of end-of-life care for pets and humans (using canine cancer patients and human cancer patients on Medicare) shows that there is a distinct end-of-life spending spike (particularly in the last month of life) for both. Human spending begins to increase 3-4 months prior to death while pet spending generally increases just one month before.
A recent report from San Diego’s public television station KPBS highlighted some sobering statistics about how many people in our county, as well as nationwide, are struggling financially. The poverty rate here in San Diego County is higher today than it was during the great recession, rising from 12.3% to 14.5%–with 450,000 people currently living below the federal poverty line ($12,082 per individual annually). U.S. census data shows that 13.5% of Americans live below the poverty threshold nationwide.
FACE provides financial assistance to qualified families to help them pay for all or part of their pets’ emergency and critical care veterinary services. According to our 2016 statistics, 50% of our grantees had an annual income of $26,000 or less. Here in San Diego County, where the cost of living is quite high, $26,000 is less than the living wage for one person.
What does all this mean for pet owners facing economic hard times? While the basic cost of pet ownership ranges from around $350-$550 per year (with roughly $1,000 of expenses during the first year of ownership), a veterinary emergency could lead to thousands of dollars of unexpected expenses. What happens when a pet owner simply can’t afford treatment? Sadly, economic euthanasia is often the only alternative. While it’s hard to find official statistics on economic euthanasia rates, animal welfare and veterinary experts estimate that between 10% and 12% of all pet euthanasia occurs for economic reasons.
The pets of low income families face many hardships, even if they never experience a veterinary emergency. Low income pet owners in rural areas can find themselves miles away from the nearest pet store or veterinarian. In urban areas with high poverty rates, veterinary services are also scarce, and pet owners often face transportation issues.
Helping pets in low income households is truly a community effort. Besides non-profits that provide financial assistance for veterinary care, like FACE, there are other ways communities have shown compassion for pets in need. Many veterinary schools offer free clinics, animal welfare organizations bring mobile, low-cost spay/neuter services to underserved areas, food pantries are expanding to include pet food and supplies, and specialized programs exist for the pets of veterans, the homeless, and the elderly.
Pets provide love, comfort, companionship, and even health benefits to their owners, regardless of income. That’s why it’s so important to do all we can to ensure that all pets remain healthy and happy members of their families. Here is a comprehensive list of organizations providing financial assistance to pet owners in the U.S.
It’s hard to believe the year 2016 is almost history! As we look forward to 2017, and working with our awesome veterinary partners to save the lives of beloved family pets in need of emergency medical care, we thought we’d take a quick look back at some of the highlights of the past year.
The year 2016 marked FACE’s 10th anniversary. From 2006 to 2016, we have helped save over 1,600 lives.
We are one of a small handful of U.S. non-profits with a mission to save family pets from the tragedy of economic euthanasia. We began with one hospital partner…today we have over 125 veterinary partners throughout San Diego County. Our partners discount their services by at least 25% for FACE cases.
As of 2016, our Humane Education program has positively impacted over 800 youth in our community. Our brand-new program, Roxy’s Dental Clinic, has provided free dental care to 15 pets who were former FACE grantees.
We are also celebrating our partnership with the Petco Foundation and Blue Buffalo. To date, they have granted FACE over $30,000 to help save pets with cancer…something we have never been able to do before.
Thanks to all of our friends and supporters for a great 2016…we can’t wait for next year!
Warmest wishes for a Happy Holiday…
From our family to yours!
Here are a just few FACE Success Stories…beloved family pets we were able to help save, thanks to all of our generous supporters!